Cleaning up the creek - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Cleaning up the creek

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB-TV) -- A local organization has dedicated itself to cleaning up trash dumped into area waterways.

"We've been running and hiking out here for a decade now, and just getting sick and tired of all the trash," exclaims Randy Whorton.

Downed trees and January flooding have created log jams in Lookout Creek, like the ones near the Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center. Garbage flowing downstream becomes trapped.

"Anything from tires to appliances," says Whorton.

So in 2007 Randy Whorton co-founded the non-profit Wild Trails in part to help clean up these messes. He says because many people in remote county areas have no trash pick-up, the garbage is dumped into waterways. It's not just an eyesore, says Whorton, it also kills wildlife.

"There are certain species of animals, especially birds, that get attracted to the color, the bottle tops and all that, and they eat them," explains Whorton.

Whorton says forest rangers have told him they've seen this happen in the Tennessee Valley. Wharton wants it to stop. 

For Mark McKnight, marketing director at Rock/Creek and Wild Trails co-founder, it's also an issue for visitors competing in company-sponsored races.

"All these runners are coming into Chattanooga because it's so beautiful. So we have a responsibility to keep it beautiful," says McKnight.

Whorton says it's up to organizations like his, as well as the concerned public, to change the situation.

"It's just unacceptable. We have to change that as a society," says Whorton. "Government's not doing it. We have to do it ourselves."

Wild Trails will clear the current trash jams Sunday, March 3, and volunteers are needed.

The group will meet at the Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center at 1:00 p.m.

For more information about Wild Trails click here.

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